Yesterday, as I was reading Bob Sutton’s work manifesto, I was struck by his #9: “The best test of a person's character is how he or she treats those with less power.” I love this way of thinking about character, and that statement got me thinking: what else is a test of a person’s true nature? Well, what a person finds funny is a good test. I asked a bunch of friends for their ideas.
--“How a person treats a waiter.” --“Whether a person plays by the rules when no one is watching.” --“How people behave when they’re pulled over while driving.” --“How a person treats his or her own parents. And in-laws.” --“My father told me never to trust a man who doesn’t drink – though he did say there are a few medical exceptions.” (Maybe I'm off the hook here as a woman, but I basically had to give up drinking, so I'd fail this test.) --“How often they use the bcc function in work emails. I don’t think you should ever use the bcc.” --“Whether a person eats a piece of chocolate cake at a birthday party.” (As an unconventional eater myself, I'd fail this test; I wouldn’t eat that birthday cake.) --“How he or she handles good fortune.” --“How he or she behaves during a long, arduous trip.” --“It is almost a definition of a gentleman to say that he is one who never inflicts pain.” --John Henry Newman.
I get a tremendous kick out of collecting these kinds of observations. If you have one to add, please post it.
* Interested in starting your own happiness project? If you’d like to take a look at my personal Resolutions Chart, for inspiration, just email me at grubin, then the “at” sign, then gretchenrubin dot com. (Sorry about writing it in that roundabout way; I’m trying to thwart spammers.) Just write “Resolutions Chart” in the subject line.